Green tourism is growing, thankfully. And as the environmental issues of today continue to affect our daily lives, so we look to doing what we can to help lessen the impact. The travel industry, though often seen as one of the contributors to the environmental issues of today, the industry is looking for ways to help slow, what seems the inevitable path towards environmental doom. Saying that there’s no reason we can’t continue to travel and enjoy destinations across the globe. We just need to be more aware of the footprint we leave.
Deciding what makes a city green, sustainable is a complex issue. Whether it’s opening up new green spaces or cycle paths. Improving the recycling to introducing electric public transport methods, not all cities have the infrastructure or means to achieve them all at once. Many destinations are though working towards that.
In our first look at sustainable cities around the world, we head to those in Europe that are helping to minimise the impact. From hoping on a bike to explore or staying in an eco-hotel or enjoying the open green spaces, our pick of Europe’s top sustainable cities will help you, when you visit them, to leave a minimal footprint. Let’s dive in.
Stockholm – Sweden
The Swedish capital is a Scandinavian delight and has among the highest number of eco hotels in the world. And you’ll soon find it’s a city that has very clear sustainable goals. Stockholm is known for recycling almost all household waste, and labels where products are sourced. Add in the cycle lanes and how this is a very walkable city, you can see how Stockholm is leading the way.
Copenhagen – Denmark
Not to be outdone by its Scandinavian neighbour, Copenhagen launched an initiative to become carbon-neutral by 2025. It’s still on course if you are wondering. You’ll spot, as you cycle through town, hydrogen-powered taxis and also find natural swimming baths and floating saunas. They even use a sustainable approach to its culinary and fashion scenes.
Ljubljana – Slovenia
Known for its castle, the Slovenian capital is also a green destination. It was Europe’s green capital in 2016, and has over 200km of cycling routes and over 75% of the city is given to parks and green spaces. Even a walk along the riverbanks is enough to convince you this city is serious about being green.
Vienna – Austria
Visit Vienna and when you turn the tap on, you’ll most likely be drinking Alpine water. Not bad, for starters. If you’re carrying a re-useable bottle, then there are plenty of places around the city to refill. So, don’t foget that bottle. Perfect then while you are doing a spot of touring. You’ll also notice the parks and gardens and city farms, and the city has a great cycle path that takes in many of the top attractions.
Zurich – Switzerland
Zurich is among the world’s most sustainable cities through its focus on educating its locals. The authorities hold businesses accountable for their energy usage and waste management. And they encourage people living there to think about their carbon footprints, walking and using public transport, for example. So, when you are visiting the city, touring and uncovering its treasures, remember to follow suit. What do they say? Do as the locals do!
Bristol – England
The Southwestern city has a long history of environmental activity. The growth of city farms and recycling among many initiatives. In 2019, Bristol was dubbed the Vegan capital of the world. It’s the place to get your soya milk latte! With attractions to bring visitors closer to nature (Slimbridge Wetland Centre), you can’t but help be inspired.
Of course, many cities throughout Europe are doing their part to increase their green tourism presence. Green transport, park spaces and cycling schemes can be foundin many of the top destinations. So, whether you’re visiting one of the listed above or another place, look for tours, shops and restaurants that are aiming to be sustainable. Take the opportunity to enjoy the open spaces, use the city bikes and explore where you can by foot. After all it’s the little details that will help.
Do you know of a city that’s pressing ahead with its green schemes, providing some top green tourism experiences? Let us know and we’ll happily add them to our list. And look out for our second article on cities in the rest of the world. It’s not just Europe that’s leading the way.